For those planning on embarking on an exciting vacation to Ireland in 2021, reading up on the history of Ireland’s provides a great insight into the country.
Between 1845 and 1849 the Famine covered the green and beautiful lands of Ireland, bringing with it terrible death and destruction. These past events are known to be one of the biggest tragedies of 19th Century. Millions of lives were lost and people were forced to emigrate by crossing the ocean in ships called “coffins” to America hoping for a better future. An estimated one million people died from starvation, typhus and other famine-related diseases during the Great Irish Famine.
An estimated two million additional people emigrated from Ireland. Many people embarking on trips to Ireland visit many of the areas effected by the Great Irish Famine including Skibbereen in West Cork. Many self drive or escorted tours of Ireland allow you discover these areas of interest by walking or cycling through Ireland, allowing people to commemorate one of the most famous famines in history. Forgetting this important part of the history is hard, and bringing attention to all of the people who lived in those terrible times, is very important. Literature and cinema provide an great way of remembrance, giving a new perspective and narrative of the events which occurred 175 years ago.
Films to watch…
Black 47 (Netflix)
The critically acclaimed Black 47 can be considered a western movie tells the story of the veteran Martin Feeney and his revenge against landlords abuses that have destroyed his family. The historical reconstruction, background story, the powerful images give to this movie the perfect mix of ingredients for a breathtaking film on the Great Irish Famine.
Books to read…
The Hungry Road
One of the most famous and acclaimed fiction authors is Marita Conlon-McKenna. Her best selling books are translated all over the world and become classics of literature read also in schools. Her first book published was, Under the Hawthorn Tree (1990) and it’s followed by other two books of the trilogy Wildflower Girl (1991) and Fields of Home (1996). Her last book published is called The Hungry Road (2020) and it is a story of courage and strength during terrible times. In this novel some of the key characters are based on real people in these terrible times, such as of Dr. Donovan from Skibbereen, who was the first person to define starvation and its impact on human bodies. This book is an epic story which tells the courage, the hopes and the people who fight to survive dreaming about a better future.
The Graves a Walking
Written by John Kelly, this book is a great piece of historical reconstruction and provide, moreover, to an incredible analysis of the political, social and environmental causes of this human tragedy.
The Great Irish Famine
A History of four real stories of people described by Enda Delaney. This book brings a unique and extremely personal perspective of these tragic years of the Irish famine, providing moreover an important contribution to the publications about The Great Famine.